NFLPA will examine Roc Nation’s recruitment of Geno Smith

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Publicly, the NFLPA has been mum on the manner in which the sports agency owned by Jay-Z recruited Jets quarterback Geno Smith.  Privately, the NFLPA will say just enough to spark action.

According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, the union plans to send a letter to agent Kim Miale, the certified agent who works for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and who represents Smith.  The NFLPA wants to know whether and to what extent Jay-Z was involved in recruiting Smith to hire Miale.

Under a rule passed by the NFLPA in 2012, only NFLPA-certified agents may be involved in recruiting clients.  Thus, if Jay-Z engaged in any recruitment of Smith to hire Miale, Miale has a problem.

Complicating matters are comments from Smith’s advisor, John Thornton, to CBS and a photo of Jay-Z and a photo that appeared in social media of Smith with Jay-Z, before Smith hired Miale.

Said Thornton, who later claimed that he was misquoted:  ”It really all came down to who he was most comfortable with.  I was in those meetings and Jay-Z connected with him on many levels.”

In our view, information sought by the NFLPA could include the full list of Roc Nation employees who met with or talked to Smith, the circumstances and timeline surrounding Miale’s arrival at Roc Nation, whether Smith actually met Miale at any point before signing the Standard Representation Agreement, the number of times Smith and Miale communicated during the recruitment process, the number of times Miale communicated with Thornton and other Smith advisors, the number of times Smith and Jay-Z met and communicated during the recruitment process, and the number of times Jay-Z communicated with Thornton and other Smith advisors.

Phone records, emails, and other documents could be sought to confirm the things that potential witnesses may say, given the strong incentive to conceal any evidence of recruiting by Jay-Z.  Interviews could be conducted of Smith, Miale, Thornton, Jay-Z, and others with knowledge of the situation.

The biggest problem for the NFLPA could come from its lack of jurisdiction over Jay-Z.  While the union can take action against Miale, the NFLPA can do nothing to Jay-Z or anyone else who doesn’t fall under the union’s regulatory umbrella.  Indeed, the NFLPA lacks the power to compel Jay-Z or anyone else not certified by the NFLPA to cooperate.

Thus, the problem could repeat itself, with the NFLPA suspending Miale and Jay-Z then hiring another certified agent.  And so on.  While we’re not advocating this specific solution, the only way the NFLPA could end the cycle (if Jay-Z intends to be involved in recruiting clients and if he can’t or won’t obtain NFLPA certification) would be to issue a blanket statement that any agent who associates with Jay-Z automatically would be subject to discipline.

The union is a long way from that point.  But the decision to look into the Miale-Smith arrangement represents much more than some agents thought the NFLPA would do.  Those agents and plenty of others will be keenly interested in how the inquiry proceeds, the information it uncovers, and the manner in which the situation is resolved.

20 responses to “NFLPA will examine Roc Nation’s recruitment of Geno Smith

  1. Smith obviously picked style over substance. He picked the agent with zero experience because he wanted to be with Jay-Z. Looks like he is on his way to fitting in nicely with the jets. Hasn’t even played a down and he already has brought a little bit of drama to his team.

  2. Favre recruits for his agent, Takeo Spikes for his agent……happens all the time so leave JZ and the agent alone. De Smith did more damage to the NFLPA than anyone else.

  3. Treating mr. Z differently because of his celebrity status will only encourage more of this to happen. His agency should be investigated fully and disciplined if need be

  4. JAYZ needs to put in the effort to just get certified & be done with this. He’s got the dough, recruiting pizazz & the business acumen…..just get the cert dude!

    Its not much different than any other regulated industry.

  5. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as ugly as Jay-z.” sigh…. I don’t really have an opinion on jay-z, and I think its really lame hes trying to get into the NFL business…. But….

    He is banging Beyoncé and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, jay-z 1 you 0, btw he thinks your ugly.

  6. Roc Nation is actually a joint venture with CAA so if the NFLPA has an issue it might open a can of worms no agent wants open.

  7. This isn’t even a story, the NFLPA just doesn’t want to look useless. Jay-Z isn’t an idiot, he wouldn’t of went from local rapper, to rapper, to rich rapper rapper with a label, to president of a bigger music label, business owner, to investor, etc. etc. if he was. Yeah he looks like a camel at times but he’s one smart camel!

  8. The established agents and agencies are afraid of JayZ and his star power draw that none of their agencies have. Also the marketing power JayZ represents with his own brands and for endorsements.

    If they penalize Roc Nation for the way they signed Smith all it will do is force JayZ to go through the certification process.

    After which he’ll be pissed off and all the more aggressive about his agency picking off the clients they want.

  9. So when they ask Jay Z if he knows why they are speaking with him is he going to respond with “because I’m young, and I’m black, and my hats real low. Do I look like a mind reader? Sir I don’t know.”

  10. If the NFLPA permanently bans Miale, other agents will think long and hard before filling her role. She’d serve as “the example”.

  11. He’ll continue to hire these no name agents and do the recruiting himself and he’s going to be successful doin it and there’s nothin the nflpa can do about it

  12. To bad Ray Lewis retired since he and Jay Z could share stabbing stories. Oh, did everybody forget Jay Z stabbed somebody?

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